Part 2…Road trip…Many new photos on a perfect day!…Historical buildings…

The name of this quaint building in Eltham, NZ wasn’t posted.  It may be a private residence.

After our visit to the Fonterra Cheese Factory in Eltham, New Zealand, we drove through the side streets finding one historical building after another. 

We assumed this structure located across the street from the Fonterra Cheese retail store was the cheese manufacturing plant.

At several points, we parked the car to walk along the streets to peer into windows of the old buildings and further investigate their origins as we took photos, many of which required I cross to the other side of the street to get a better shot.

The 1897 Eltham Argus building.

We were in awe of the quaint personality of the small town with a population (as of the last census in 2006) of under 2000 residents as stated below in this quote from Wikipedia:

“Eltham is a small inland town in South Taranaki, New Zealand, located 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of the city of New Plymouth and southeast of the volcanic cone of Mount Taranaki/Egmont. Stratford is 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) north, Kaponga 13 km west, and Hawera is 19 km (12 mi) south. State Highway 3 runs through the town. 

There’s our little rental car parked in front of the former Eltham Bank (with Tom on the left), now converted to a unique antique shop. Photos will follow tomorrow with some interesting antique items we spotted in this location.

Eltham is South Taranaki’s second largest town. Population was 1980 in the 2006 Census, a decrease of 120 from 2001.

The former Post and Telegraph Office is for sale.

Eltham is known as the cradle of the Taranaki dairy industry (the co-operative system in particular), and for being the one place in New Zealand that manufactured rennet which is important in cheese making. It was also the first place to export butter to England.

An old phone booth with a sign stating it was one cent to make a call. The windows were too old and cloudy to take a photo of the interior.

Settlement began in Eltham in the 1870s with blocks of densely forested land being taken up mainly to the north of Mountain Road. A profusion of sawmilling companies cleared the district which when grassed was found to be ideal for dairy farming.

The 1914 Wilkinson’s Buildings includes a variety of shops, restaurants, and offices.

In 1884, the year Eltham was declared a town district, settlers, mainly from England, arrived there and the town had a population of 25. Eltham was declared a borough in 1901, and became part of South Taranaki District with the local body amalgamations of 1989.”

We’d have gone inside to see the interior of the Eltham District Historical Society but they were closed for lunch.

Unquestionably, discovering that Eltham is the second largest town in South Taranaki left us smiling. We love small towns and felt at ease as we wandered the streets, people warmly greeting us, although it was obvious we were outsiders. That’s the nature of the people of New Zealand.

Tom couldn’t help but notice this street rod (circa, the 1930s) traveling on the quiet street.

Interspersed among many of the old buildings are a few newer esthetically appealing buildings where businesses and manufacturing are comingled in an entirely natural manner. Whether it was an antique shop, a beauty salon, a post office, or a train yard, it all blends well into a fine mix of old and new.

A dairy store, supermarket and chemist, and others are available for the needs of the local residents with little influence geared toward tourists, although we spotted a few quaint hotels as shown in this photo below.

The still-operational Coronation Hotel was built in 1902.  For more information on historic properties in Eltham, please click here.

It always amazes us how much we enjoy these types of excursions, exploring places we’ve never been as we attempt to imagine the lives of the people who live in such a small town such as Eltham.

This is 1911, ESI Energy Services International Building, most likely the electric company.

And today, on April Fool’s Day, with the local news on the TV in the background, Tom can’t stop laughing over the good humor on the broadcast, much of which wouldn’t be considered as “politically correct” in some countries including the US. 

This is the newer post office built to fit well with the older buildings.

Although Kiwis are respectful under all circumstances in regards to racial and physical differences, they certainly have the ability to find humor in many other topics that freely elicit laughter. 

Painting on side of the building in Eltham, NZ.

With little crime in New Zealand, ranked as the fourth safest country in the world, everywhere we visit we feel comfortable and at ease. Add the element of its kind and generous people, Eltham was certainly no exception.  It was truly a great experience.

Wherever you live or visit, may today bring you pleasant experiences with the people in your town.

Photo from one year ago today, April 1, 2015:

A downed tree on Anina Beach in Kauai. Children were playing off to the right as we lounged in our Costco beach chairs. For more details, please click here.

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